Catalan government considering a weekend lockdown

Officials claim to be analysing formulas to avoid a total closure

The government is satisfied with the level of compliance by citizens during the first night of curfew, but insists that the Spanish government's state of alert agreed "falls short" because it does not give it room to approve measures such as a possible weekend lockdown. Such restriction is being studied to reduce the moments of more social interaction, said Meritxell Budó, the councillor for the presidency in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio. She also stated that measures would be taken according to data and that a total lockdown would be avoided "insofar as possible".

As well as this measure, the government is considering making working from home compulsory. however, the state of alarm does not allow it. "It does not give us all the legal coverage for the decisions we think we might have to take," Budó said. She also regretted that the state of alarm is not accompanied by economic measures: "We need to be provided with the necessary tools and the necessary economic resources."

If the government decided to opt for this weekend lockdown, it would have to approve it and wait for a response of the courts, or make a proposal to the inter-territorial health council, which brings together the health ministry with all the autonomous communities and which the new decree sees as the coordinating body for applying new restrictions. Spanish government sources do not close the door to this measure proposed by the Generalitat, and consider that it is not incompatible with the state of alarm, but point out that they would need to be backed by a judge.

The same sources point out that the decree gives regions a lot of room for manoeuvre and that the proposal should be studied from a legal point of view. They believe the Generalitat is testing the waters and don't think that the vote to approve an extension of the state of alarm, which requires support from the Catalan parties, is in danger. "There is a good understanding with the Catalan government around the pandemic", they stress.

Health officials believe the new measures will not achieve the good enough results and that the weekend lockdown is a possibility. The head of preventive medicine and epidemiology at Vall d'Hebron hospital, Dr. Magda Campins, considers it an effective measure. "I don't rule out it having to be done", she said in declarations to Catalunya Ràdio.

Campins explained that at the end of the week it would have to be seen whether the impact of the measures taken more than a week ago - the closure of bars and restaurants as well as other restrictions - have had positive effects, but she was "sceptical" about the situation.

Satisfied with first night of curfew

The spokesperson for the Government, Meritxell Budó, also said the government is studying how to hold the Catalan elections in February respecting all the security measures and guaranteeing that everybody can vote. She said that, for now, they are not considering having to postpone them.

As for the first night of curfew, the Government's spokesperson has defended that "it seems that it has worked" and that "the people have understood that this measure had to be applied". "I think that citizens have acted responsibly," she said, and assured that there were no relevant incidents. As of today, fines will be in place and police will enforce the curfew, which is "drastic and limits individual freedom". Budó considered that the measure should last as little as possible and that those breaking the curfew should face sanctions.

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